Ecosystem partners have played an increasing role in advancing companies’ digital transformations, helping the companies to digitize (by providing access to new technologies) and become more digital (by collaborating on innovative digital offerings). In addition, companies in the MIT CISR community increasingly contribute to solving grand societal challenges, such as affordable healthcare and climate change, that require multiple ecosystem actors working together at multiple levels.
Ecosystems for innovation require relational forms of coordination to manage conflicting priorities and collaborative work that is interdependent, uncertain, and time constrained. Quantitative evidence from MIT CISR research indicated that ecosystems performed better if they scored higher on joint goals, mutual benefits, and effective information sharing. Building and supporting high-quality relationships is even more challenging among multiple organizations than it is within a single organization due to differences in power, communication, and digital readiness among other factors. In this study, we explore how organizations design high-performing relational ecosystems for innovation. Research questions include:
- How do interdependent actors coordinate relationships to create value in ecosystems?
- What are the key mechanisms—such as ecosystem metrics and digital readiness—that support relational coordination for value creation in ecosystems?
- How do interdependent actors in ecosystems overcome power differentials and lack of trust to build momentum toward sustainable value creation?
Methods: We aim to develop a conceptual framework for relational ecosystems that is useful for practice, policy, and research based on 20–30 research interviews, a review of public sources, and 2–3 case studies or vignettes.
Seeking: Executives who are actively engaged in building and managing ecosystems for innovation
Contact: Ina Sebastian